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Technology is a valuable tool that helps HR carry out daily responsibilities, but this year it may have an even greater impact in shaping industry trends.

One ongoing trend that will continue is the evolution of passive recruitment from reviewing resumes on job websites to tapping social media to find potential candidates, writes Josh Millet of Forbes Human Resources Council.

“Similarly, talent pools can now be identified simply by searching hastags, sub-forums or other online communication methods,” Millet writes. “By engaging these types of candidates--either in groups or individually depending on the platform--recruiters can get a sense of what they’re looking for and if they’d be willing to make a change in their careers.”

Millet, who is CEO of Criteria Corp, a pre-employment testing firm, also notes the growing prevalence of working from home or other locations away from the traditional office with the availability of WiFi. A company that allows its employees to work remotely is likely to have a competitive advantage over peers.

“From a corporate perspective, it opens up the pool of candidates, and by offering remote work capabilities, it’s a way to retain current employees and to boost job satisfaction through a better work-life balance,” he writes. “With video conferencing and collaboration tools evolving every year, this trend will only continue on the upswing.”

Technology that enables blind hiring, or the ability to keep recruiters unaware to any demographic data that may allow bias to factor in the selection process, also will gain prominence.

Another technology that invites potential candidates to test their critical thinking and cognitive skills, known as gamification, arms HR with a lot of data to gauge the strengths and weaknesses of those candidates. Employers and HR teams also need to think hard now about how they will keep their employees relevant in a world where technology is likely to replace many human jobs.

“This means identifying the staff who are willing to embrace different aspects of jobs: management, problem solving, troubleshooting and other areas that require a human element,” Millet notes. “By planning ahead, this will save the company money as it transitions to cheaper computer-driven labor while maximizing the human potential already on the payroll.”

Simply automating HR also is no longer going to cut it for companies trying compete. This means companies need to figure out how technology can make them the most of productive, Josh Bersin writes in Forbes. He is the founder of Bersin by Deloitte, an HR research and advisory firm. 

“Burnout, focus, and employee engagement are all issues, and we are now dealing with email, messaging from many different systems, and a plethora of communication tools that overwhelm most of us,” Bersin writes. “Can we build HR software that really improves productivity and helps teams work better together? That’s the next challenge.”

Bersin’s firm recently published its “HR Technology Disruptions for 2018 Report,” where it lays out the major technology challenges facing the industry. He lists HR as a disruptor and notes that HR professionals are no longer waiting for tech to come up with solutions.

“Now HR departments are experimenting with new performance management models, new learning strategies, new ways to reduce bias, and new techniques to recruit and coach people,” he writes. “Then they go into the market and see if vendors are available. This shift to me is a disruption itself- forcing the HR technology community to move even faster than ever.”

Nearly 200 HR professionals surveyed by Outmatch, a Dallas-based firm focused on hiring, retaining and talent development, all agreed that the best hiring begins with predictive analytics, HR Dive reports. The issue is that only 35% said they were actually using data and analytics to find hires.

“By collecting early performance data on new hires, and matching it against assessments, you begin to create a feedback loop that automatically updates and continually refines the profile of a successful employee,” says Greg Moran, president and CEO of Outmatch. Additionally, analytics can provide insight to key questions, including “What’s the ROI on HR investments?” and “How do employees drive business results and contribute to the bottom line?”

HR also needs to stay on top of jobs it posts that can run afoul of workplace discrimination laws. Companies are tapping new technology, including from software provider, SAP, that spots words in job postings that could be seen as bias. Such a tool can also help firms to reach diversity goals and strip bias from performance reviews and payroll. “Glassdoor also took a stand this year against criminal history discrimination,” according to HR Dive. “It announced that it will reject job posts that discriminate against applicants with criminal records.”

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